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Dean’s Welcome

Jim Pfaendtner

The College of Engineering at North Carolina State University is focused on meeting the Grand Challenges of the 21st Century through discovery, innovation, education and outreach. Our cutting-edge research and education programs provide the knowledge and workforce to fuel the future of our state, nation and world. In the College of Engineering, we truly Think and Do.

Engineering has been a cornerstone of NC State University since the university’s founding in 1887. Today, with more than 10,000 students and 300 tenure/tenure-track faculty, the College is the largest engineering school in the state and the 9th largest in the nation. The College offers 18 bachelor’s, 21 master’s and 13 doctoral degrees on campus through its nine core departments and three affiliated departments. In addition, our 2+2 programs serve students across the state with programs at UNC-Asheville; Craven Community College in Havelock, NC; and UNC-Wilmington, and our Engineering Online program offers 16 master’s degree programs to anyone in the world.

Our faculty members are nationally and internationally recognized in their fields. In just the last two years our young faculty have received 12 prestigious National Science Foundation Early Career Awards. Our senior faculty are no less impressive with six members of the National Academy of Inventors, three members of the highly prestigious National Inventors Hall of Fame, and 17 members of the National Academy of Engineering, the highest honor for an engineer.

Thanks to important investments made by the NC General Assembly and the people of North Carolina, more than two-thirds of the College is now located on NC State’s Centennial Campus, where industry, government and academe work together to tackle global challenges. One of our newest additions to the campus, the state-of-the-art James B. Hunt Jr. Library, is redefining how our students study and collaborate. It has been called one of the coolest university libraries in the world. Next door is the College’s new marquee building — Fitts-Woolard Hall. With state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories, Fitts-Woolard Hall is a platform for the best in research and education.

NC State Engineering is a research powerhouse. We currently lead two $40 million National Science Foundation Engineering Research Centers — ASSIST, which is focused on self-powered, wearable health and environment monitoring devices to improve healthcare, and FREEDM, which is focused on building the “Internet for energy,” including the next-generation solid state transformers for electric energy distribution. These engineering research centers are among the highest awards from NSF, and our college has the distinction of being one of only two institutions currently leading two ERCs and one of only two to have ever led three ERCs.

We are the leader of PowerAmerica, a $140 million Department of Energy National Networking for Manufacturing Innovation Institute focused on developing advanced manufacturing processes to enable large-scale production of wide bandgap semiconductors. This center is a spin off from our NSF FREEDM center. And we are leaders of the Southeast Hub of another National Networking for Manufacturing Innovation Institute, the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, focused on spurring technological innovation to improve the efficiency of advanced manufacturing in the U.S. The SMII is backed by $800 million in federal and non-federal resources and includes 200 partners from industry, federal research labs, academia and state and local government across 30 states.

We are also a leader in nuclear engineering, serving as the lead academic institution on two national consortia: the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors, a $121.5 million Department of Energy consortium focused on developing the next generation of light water reactors and the Consortium for Nonproliferation Enabling Capabilities, a $25 million National Nuclear Security Administration grant focused on nuclear nonproliferation. Our partner institutions in these consortia include MIT, Michigan, Georgia Tech and others.

In recognition of all of this national prominence in research, the US News & World Report rankings of graduate engineering programs has us ranked 25th overall and 13th among public colleges of engineering. This is up from 10 years ago when we were ranked 33rd overall. What helped put us in the top 25? Our faculty members are very productive and our students are highly sought after by recruiters. In addition to teaching and mentoring our students, our faculty brought in $189 million in total research expenditures last year. This is significant productivity. And our students, both undergraduate and graduate, are the true beneficiaries of having such a robust research environment. They get to learn from and work alongside these faculty members who are major players in high level research. This gives our students a significant advantage when they go out to work in industry.

We also prepare our students for creating the next big thing through our Engineering Entrepreneurs Program (EEP), which has been educating and mentoring young entrepreneurs since 1993. EEP graduates have started companies and brought new products and technologies to the marketplace.

This Think and Do spirit means our college has been highly successful in producing patents, licensing, start ups and spin offs. In just the past four years our college has produced 713 patent disclosures, filed 413 patents, had 127 patents issued, and made 228 license agreements. In addition, we have produced 34 start ups over the last 5 years, including Novocor Medical Systems, ImagineOptix, Augment Medical Inc., and Polymer Braille. These patents and start ups contribute to the economy, create jobs and impact society.

The College of Engineering at NC State is passionate about addressing the grand challenges of tomorrow. We are an enterprising team of students, faculty, staff, alumni and industry partners who work together to Think and Do a better tomorrow for our state and nation.

Jim Pfaendtner signature in black cursive handwriting.

Jim Pfaendtner
Louis Martin-Vega Dean, College of Engineering
NC State University